7 Home Improvements That Make You Money at Closing

Investing a little time and money in your home prior to listing can pay big dividends at the close of escrow. But before you go crazy at your neighborhood Home Depot, you need to know which projects are going to give you the best return on your time and investment.  

HomeGain conducted a study with over 500 real estate agents in order to find just that. This post outlines their findings on a number of home improvements, including information on how much each one costs as well as data on what you can expect to earn back at closing. 

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7 Home Improvements That Make You Money at Closing

(costs based on a national averages)

Home Improvement #1 – Clean & Declutter:
The #1 recommendation of the 500 surveyed agents is simply to clean and declutter your home. Rent a storage unit to store whatever you don’t need on a day-to-day basis and remove personal photos and artifacts from the space.

  • Avg. Cost: $402?
  • Value Added: $2,024
  • Return on Investment (ROI): 403%

Home Improvement #2 – Improve Your Landscaping:
An inviting entryway will wow buyers. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, plant fresh flowers, slap a new coat of paint on the front door and add fresh mulch to planters.

  • Avg. Cost: $564
  • Value Added: $1,777
  • ROI: 215% 

Home Improvement #3 – Lighten Up:
Brightly lit rooms can make your interior feel larger and more welcoming. Swap dark window coverings out for light or partially transparent options or use white slip-covers on furniture to give the room a lighter feel.

  • Avg. Cost: $424?
  • Value Added: $1,690?
  • ROI: 299%

Home Improvement #4 – Paint: 
A fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into your home. Incorporate white or off-white to make rooms feel larger.

  • Avg. Cost: $968?
  • Value Added: $2,002?
  • ROI: 107%

Home Improvement #5 – Take Care of Invisible Repairs:
If you know one of your major systems has issues, it might be wise for you to get it overhauled prior to selling. Updating major systems like plumbing and electrical usually means significant long-term savings for buyers, a big perk that can increase your final sale price.

  • Avg. Cost: $808?
  • Value Added: $3,175?
  • ROI: 293%

Home Improvement #6 – Stage Your Space:
Staging means making adjustments to a room to create a more inviting environment. Overall, staging should emphasize the strengths of your home, soften its weaknesses and attract a wider range of potential buyers. ?To accomplish this, use model homes or furniture stores you’ve visited as inspiration, choose neutral colors and incorporate sparse but deliberate decor. You can do this yourself for little to no cost or you can hire a professional stager to do it for you. 

  • Avg. Cost: $724
  • ?Value Added: $2,145
  • ?ROI: 196%

Home Improvement #7 – Consider Your Carpets:
99% of the real estate agents surveyed recommended that a seller shampoo or replace their carpets when listing their home. Clean, bright carpet that smells fresh not only looks great, it also gives your space a much newer feel.

Clean Carpets

  • Avg. Cost: $671?
  • Value Added: $1,747?
  • ROI: 160%

Now that you know which home improvements deliver the best return on your investment, you can choose your projects wisely.


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